Written by: Tomas Morgan
Christie Jenkins is not your average athlete. From dominating the world of trampoline at the age of 9 to becoming a top-tier professional volleyball player, Christie's athletic journey is one marked by resilience, determination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Beyond her sporting achievements, Jenkins has ventured into the realms of entrepreneurship as a venture capitalist (VC) investor, proving that her success is not confined to sport but extends into the dynamic world of business.
Jenkins's parents met on a trampoline when her father taught her mother a backflip in college, which she jokes is the reason she was a trampolinist. This early exposure to the sport laid the foundation for her own trampoline career, winning the World Championship at a mere 9 years old. However, realizing the age limitations of the trampoline in her early twenties, Christie decided to explore other sports that could sustain her athletic career into her 30s. Volleyball emerged as the chosen path, despite never having played a ball sport before.
With unwavering dedication, Jenkins trained 8-10 times per week, swiftly catching the attention of a top volleyball athlete who invited her to train professionally. Surpassing expectations, she joined the professional volleyball circuit within a remarkable nine months, showcasing her adaptability and determination.
Transitioning to international play took five years, during which Christie accelerated her progress by playing two seasons in one year. From Australia's summer season to California's, she immersed herself in the competitive beach volleyball scene at Hermosa Beach, playing alongside some very talented players.
Christie's love for travel began at a young age when her parents sent her abroad with the Australian trampoline team. Over the years, she explored more than 50 countries, demonstrating her ability to adapt and connect with diverse communities.
Her journey into the entrepreneurial realm as a VC investor reflects the mindset of a professional athlete. She emphasizes the importance of resilience, feedback, and teamwork, drawing parallels between the challenges faced in sports and the competitive world of venture funding.
Discussing confidence, Jenkins categorizes it into four levels, ranging from unwarranted swagger to "meta confidence" – the belief that one can learn and improve. This nuanced understanding of confidence is a testament to her growth mindset.
Sharing insights into her career, Jenkins talks about the myth of finding passion instantly, advocating for the development of passion alongside skill. She attributes her passion for volleyball to the continuous improvement and mastery of the sport. You are not just going to find your passion sitting around looking at a list of careers, you have to go try different things.
Reflecting on her diverse athletic pursuits, Jenkins admits to occasionally pondering the road not taken, expressing an interest in martial arts. However, her love for trampolining and volleyball remains evident, and she appreciates the unique lessons each sport has offered.
As a retiree from professional sports, Jenkins candidly discusses the challenges faced during this transition. The six steps she outlines, from discussing retirement with others to grappling with the sense of unfinished business, provide valuable insights for athletes facing the end of their careers.
Christie Jenkins can be found making waves in the athletic ventures world, with a particular admiration for the Australian healthcare brand "Eucalyptus." Her entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with her passion for sports, continues to drive her towards new heights.
For the next generation, Jenkins offers a simple yet powerful piece of advice: "Action solves everything. Action is the antidote." Her journey exemplifies the transformative power of taking action, facing fears, and embracing challenges head-on – a philosophy that has shaped her remarkable career.